Loving What Is/ Stopping Emotional Suffering/ Freedom...The Work of Byron Katie

Week Two - - Day Five

Staying Alive

Your thoughts are still hooey, usually

Don’t believe them without questioning

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Week Two - - Day Five

Staying Alive

Your thoughts are still hooey, usually

Don’t believe them without questioning



Questioning?

Like what?


Like: Is that true?

Like: Are you sure?

Like: Is that an opinion or a real fact?

Like: Is that true without any thought about it?


For example: take a pen or a napkin. Hold it in you hand. Let it drop. Don’t believe it will fall.

Does it fall?

Yes.


Now take a very common thought: my father/ mother should have been nicer.

Is that true?

Is that an opinion or a real fact, like the napkin/ pen falling.

Is that true without a thought about it?


Here’s the weird deal.

Most of us are not around our parents right now. So without thinking they are just a memory.

We can have an opinion about our memory of them.

And is that opinion a fact, like say, that they are so many inches high, or so many years old?

Or alive or dead?


In the present, you are reading these words, and standing or sitting or laying down somewhere, or walking, running, so on.

You can drop a napkin as you run or walk and it will fall.

But for your mother or father to “have been” better can only be a thought experiment. They were what they were. Like it or not.

Hitler was what he was.

No need to condone.

Nor stop the rise of new Hitlers.

And to demand that history have been Hitler free is futile.


The past is over.

Really?

THE PAST IS PASSED.



Now let’s get really weird. As you read this, sitting across the room from you WHAT IS REAL? Is your father/ mother telling you over and over that you are a fool for reading this book?

Maybe not. 

In your head (you so-thinking, but not, just nonsense in your head) they might be saying: don’t believe this. I am still here giving you a hard time.



AND, GOD FORBID, YOUR REAL PARENTS ARE IN THE REAL ROOM TELLING YOU CRITICAL/ MEAN THINGS.

OH SHIT.

THEN WHAT?

You can feel bad. You probably will.

And your feeling bad doesn’t control them.

Common opinion is that they should be nicer around you, and the fact is that they aren’t. Common opinion doesn’t control them.

And do you have choices?

Yes…


You can leave the room.

You can ask them to be quiet or sing Ave Maria or Here Comes the Sun.

You can agree with them that you are a fool and ask: so what?

You can ask them to complain in French or Russian or Yiddish or Mandarin.

You can ask them to complain in gibberish.


Which is to say: you can ask for changes. You can make changes.

But wishing/ wanting/ thinking they should be nicer in the moment they aren’t being nice: Is that true? Is that true? Is that true?

Is that the same reality that dropping a napkin of a pen is?


HINT: THERE ARE ASSHOLES IN THE WORLD WHO WILL SOMETIMES BE MEAN.

TURN AROUND: SOMETIMES WE ARE ASSHOLE IN THE WORLD AND ARE MEAN/ SELFISH/ THOUGHTLESS.

OH, WELL.


Mull this, as we proceed to one of the easiest and most effective routes to inner freedom.

It’s called “the work of Byron Katie.” 

Byron Katie is the stage name, name on books of someone we call Katie.

She had an enlightenment/ wake up moment in 1986. Sometime a long time ago.

She calls it a “moment of clarity.”

She was on a quest to stop at least 10 years of suffering. She’d been overweight and alcoholic and chain smoking and raging at her family for many years. She’d been saying to herself over and over, “I want to die,” and…. she had enough innate wisdom to avoid hurting/ killing herself.

Like anyone who wants to die, what she really wanted to die was her suffering.


And it did.


Mythically, supposedly, as a cockroach walks over her ankle as she’s laying on the floor of a halfway house, feeling too unworthy to even be on a bed.

Cockroach walks over her ankle, she feels, her mind “wakes up” to the simple reality that she does not need to believe any of her thinking.

ANY of it.

It’s all gone, somehow, all her complaints about the world, all her ideas about herself, even simple ideas like “I am a woman,” and “I am a mother.”

Nothing is left.

Except…

Bliss.

Laughter.

Freedom.


IS THIS BULLSHIT JUST FOR FANCY/ LUCKY/ MIRACLE PEOPLE?

NO.


Enlightenment Exercise #1

Don’t think for three seconds

What’s left?


That’s all.

Just three seconds.

No words/ thoughts/ ideas/ concept about reality.


What’s left?



BACK TO BYRON KATIE/ KATIE….

And, she’s not totally free because her mind kicks in every now and then.

She would have the famous “my mother should have been….” thoughts and she would plummet back to ordinary suffering reality.

Ugh.

She now had a comparison: the bliss of no thoughts, or of not believing her thoughts.


This method came to her:

Judge your neighbor..

Write it down…

Ask four questions…

Turn it around…


Or maybe the four questions came to her. Or maybe one at a time.

Doesn’t matter.

The work/ game/ exercise/ pathway to freedom today is to take four thoughts that make you miserable and ask the four questions about each one of them.

One at a time.


(Katie says she did “the work,” which is these four questions and the turn around, ON HER MOTHER, for three years AFTER SHE WOKE UP>  Trouble/ suffering likes to reappear and reappear until it’s cleaned up. This is the way. Not positive thinking. Not “getting rid of negative thoughts.” 

Forgiveness yes.

And how to forgive?

This is the easiest way, I believe.)


So, let me give the example with my father in my thoughts when I was in the habit of believing them and suffering immensely.

“My father shouldn’t have been so critical.”


Question One: Is it true?

Well, it’s an opinion. Many would wish and agree that their father and my father and most fathers wouldn’t be so critical.

And is it true, like the napkin or the pen falling?

No.


Question Two: Is it absolutely true?

As in…Is the Universe is set up so that this statement is true? Has God made this the Rule?

My father should have been one of the great and wonderful ones who wasn’t critical.

Really?

Hmmm.

They do exist, and I’d say it’s less than half. Probably less than half of half in modern industrial TV meaningless culture. (What’s your guess as to the percent of non-critical fathers in the world? In the US?)

And that doesn’t matter in my reality, in my chance to make myself suffering or “wake up” from my suffering.

Even if he’s the only critical father in the world, is it part of God’s scheme that he shouldn’t be that one?

No.


This is a tough question or a fun one, this Is it absolutely true?

Basically it’s saying: am I God and I can decry the way reality should be or should have been? Or does God/ Reality get to say that What Was is what was? 


Question Three: How do I react when I believe that?

I ask people to sit or stand in the “I believe the thought/ story” chair or spot.


Returning to our poor me/ bad Dad “story,” I pick In that spot, the “MY Dad shouldn’t have been so critical spot.”

And

What happens?

This is cause and effect: put in a thought and >>>>

I feel cheated, and weak, a victim and angry. I avoid people who remind me of my father. I’m forever yammering to people about how rotten my father was. Poor me.

Blah, blah.

You know this hole. The victim hole. The poor me hole.

Feels good briefly and there are always others who will help you feel sorry for yourself, and then we all can start to feel: this feels weak, this feels awful, this feels like I’ve spent way, way, way too much time in this feeling.

And who is causing the feeling?

Me.

By believing the thought/ story / belief/ opinion.


And is there a choice?

Of course, always a choice.


Question Four: WHO OR WHAT WOULD I BE WITHOUT THAT BELIEF/ STORY/ THOUGHT?

Jump to a new spot. Move to a new chair.

In the new spot, without the belief, who and what are you.


And don’t take my word for it.


Try it out.

Four times. Two times. Ten times.

And, guess what: start with one time.

One parent.

One ex-spouse.

One estranged sibling.

Go for it.

GO FOR IT….


Don’t Believe Your Thinking Exercise: The Work of Byron Katie

Write down a juicy “should” statement. 

Suggestion, start with one of your parents.

Or an ex-spouse.


Write down a short sentence with a “should.”

Ask the first two questions.

Write down the questions.

Write down the answers. No or Yes.

Get clear: is this an opinion or is this a fact.


Question 3:

Pick a spot or chair where you believe the “should.”

See what that does for you.


Question 4:

Pick a spot or chair where you don’t believe that thought.

Either having no thoughts, as in being present.

Or, simply refusing to believe the thought.


See what that does for you.



Warning: this is almost too good to be true.

Suggestion: deepen this by “learning,” which is noticing differences.

Pick the spot you prefer, the being present spot or the “not believing the thought” spot.


Freedom via Byron Katie Exercise #3 (The first was the turn around exercise)

Go back and forth

The Believe the Thought chair or spot.

The Not Believing chair or spot.

Keep feeling the difference.

In your gut, heart and cells.

Don’t “think” about it.

Know it.


This is silly easy, and had to do.

Most people can’t stand to give up the story, even if it sets them free.

Until they get out of their heads and experience the freedom.


This is not to be thought about.

Do it.

Over and over and over again.

Three times a day for the next three months.

See what happens.